Wall Street Journal: GOP, US would be best served if Trump ‘ceded the field to the next generation’

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board said in a piece on Monday that the Republican Party and United States would be best served if former President Trump “ceded the field to the next generation” for the 2024 presidential election. 

The board said more Democrats than Republicans will be elated to see Trump run again because they view him as the easiest candidate to defeat. 

The editorial states that Trump plans to announce a reelection bid on Tuesday, “long before he needs to,” to try to clear the field of potential challengers to him for the GOP nomination and to get ahead of a potential indictment from the Justice Department, putting himself in a position to deride such a move as politically motivated. 

The board said Trump had many policy successes as president but that character flaws like narcissism, lack of self-control and “abusive” treatment of advisers limited his success. It pointed to Trump’s “erratic” behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic and his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection and the efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election as “baggage” he would carry in a 2024 run. 

“Last week’s elections showed that clinging to 2020 election denial, as Mr. Trump has, is a loser’s game,” the board said. “Republicans who took this line to win his endorsement nearly all lost. The country showed it wants to move on, but Mr. Trump refuses—perhaps because he can’t admit to himself that he was a loser.” 

The GOP had hoped to pick up many seats in both houses of Congress but failed to win a majority in the Senate. The party is likely to win control of the House but by a much narrower margin than originally expected. 

Trump has received blame for backing candidates who embraced his false claims about the 2020 election being stolen from him, many of whom were viewed as weaker than their primary opponents and ultimately lost their races. 

Some Republicans are calling on him to delay his announcement until after next month’s Georgia Senate runoff between Republican Herschel Walker and Sen. Raphael Warnock (D), but he appears likely to move forward with his plans. 

Americans “voted in 2018 and 2020 to stop the daily turmoil,” the editorial states. “It’s hard to believe they’d vote in 2024 to do it all again.” 

The board said Trump remains more unpopular than President Biden, divides Republicans and is the “most effective motivator of Democratic voter turnout in history.” 

The board said Republican voters will have to decide if they want to nominate the person most likely to cause a GOP loss if Trump chooses to run.

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